The Negotiator Magazine

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Well, my sales territory was the Canal Street area in New York -- the armpit of Manhattan Island. This was the toughest place to try selling door-to-door, which is what I was being under-paid to do. I learned very quickly that the key to success in selling -- as it is in negotiating -- is keeping your mouth shut and listening to what people have to say.

I discovered that my sales prospects would tell me everything I needed to know in order to make the sale -- if I just kept my mouth shut long enough. If I tried to make a flowery presentation, I would be thrown out. But if I let them tell me what their problems were, they would buy anything from me -- even ice.

Staying In Shape

It turns out that listening is not a difficult art to master. In fact, it's quite simple. It's similar to what I go through in order to keep physically fit. The easy part of staying in shape is doing all the exercises. The hard part is getting to the gym on a regular basis. The excuses I come up with for not going are amazing. Once I get to the health club, I'm home free.

Learning to listen is the same. The hard part -- the equivalent of "getting to the gym" -- is shutting up. If you can train yourself to keep your mouth shut most of the time, you will be a great listener and a great negotiator.

Listening Tips

Here are some suggestions for developing your listening skills:

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